Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Devil Dancer Triple IPA - Founders Brewing Company

                So, they say that IPAs shouldn’t be drunk fresh from the brewery and should not be cellared, but I figured what the hell and held aside one bottle of Founders2011 Devil Dancer just to see how it would age.  I mean after all the style was developed so that the British could load beer onto boats and send it down to India.  The wonderful brewers at Founders put a bottling date of 6/17/11 on the bottle, and I am pretty sure that it has been down in my cellar since sometime in late July 2011.  So, that’s a reasonable amount of time to cellar, but certainly not nearly as long as I am cellaring some of my Founders KBS or Dogfish Head World Wide Stout.

                Devil dancer is brewed once a year, and should be available in the Founders distribution area sometime in July.  Although, be aware, this beer flies off the shelf, although not as fast as their KBS.  It weighs in at a surprising 12% ABV and 112 IBU’s, making it not only much higher in alcohol than most beers, but also much higher in IBUs than most of the Extreme IPAs out there,  with possibly only Pliny the Younger coming close.  I’m not sure how they made it all the way up to 112 IBU’s other than tons of hops and maybe some hop extract, but Devil Dancer is definitely a hop head beer!

                I guess technically Devil Dancer would fit into the BJCP’s 14C Imperial IPA category.  Just for the heck of it the style guidelines are posted at the end of this entry..  On BeerAdvocate it currently has an 89 from the users and an 84 from the bros, while on ratebeer it has a 99 overall, and a 98 for style.  I must say in this case I agree far more with the ratebeer crowd than the BA one.

                So, onto the beer:

They say:

                When you dance with the Devil, the Devil don't change. You do. Massive in complexity, the huge malt character balances the insane amount of alphas used to create it. At an incredible 112 IBUs, it's dry-hopped with ten hop varieties.

 I say:

                Damn this is a great beer! It pours reddish amber in color with an excellent reddish off-white head that has impressive retention (almost a minute).  Smelling it, I am floored by floral hops which is definitely from the 10 varieties of hops that they use for dry hopping. The aroma is excellent with only the slightest amount of malty sweetness hitting on the back end.   However, if you didn’t know dry hopping only really adds to the aroma of a beer, rather than providing any noticeable increase in IBU’s. 

On to the flavor.  For 121 IBU’s Devil Dancer is surpisingly balanced.  Sure there is a noticeable hop bitterness, but there is also a malty sweetness to back it up.  There is an extremely complex hop flavor to this with a noticeable sweet, caramel, malty finish.  It is also has very high bodied, almost to the point of being syrupy, but not in a bad way.  This would go great with a warm gooey cinnamon roll, or maybe some pecan pie.

                Bottom line, this beer is awesome!  And, it aged extremely well!!  I wish that I still had a bottle waiting for me, because it is going to be a very long wait until I can find this again in July..

If you are interested, the official guidelines for Imperial IPA’s are after the sign off.

That’s all for tonight!  Happy Drinking!!


Aroma: A prominent to intense hop aroma that can be derived from American, English and/or noble varieties (although a citrusy hop character is almost always present). Most versions are dry hopped and can have an additional resinous or grassy aroma, although this is not absolutely required. Some clean malty sweetness may be found in the background. Fruitiness, either from esters or hops, may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is typical. Some alcohol can usually be noted, but it should not have a “hot” character.

Appearance: Color ranges from golden amber to medium reddish copper; some versions can have an orange-ish tint. Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy. Good head stand with off-white color should persist.

Flavor: Hop flavor is strong and complex, and can reflect the use of American, English and/or noble hop varieties. High to absurdly high hop bitterness, although the malt backbone will generally support the strong hop character and provide the best balance. Malt flavor should be low to medium, and is generally clean and malty although some caramel or toasty flavors are acceptable at low levels. No diacetyl. Low fruitiness is acceptable but not required. A long, lingering bitterness is usually present in the aftertaste but should not be harsh. Medium-dry to dry finish. A clean, smooth alcohol flavor is usually present. Oak is inappropriate in this style. May be slightly sulfury, but most examples do not exhibit this character.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium body. No harsh hop-derived astringency, although moderate to medium-high carbonation can combine to render an overall dry sensation in the presence of malt sweetness. Smooth alcohol warming.

Overall Impression:An intensely hoppy, very strong pale ale without the big maltiness and/or deeper malt flavors of an American barleywine. Strongly hopped, but clean, lacking harshness, and a tribute to historical IPAs. Drinkability is an important characteristic; this should not be a heavy, sipping beer. It should also not have much residual sweetness or a heavy character grain profile.

Comments: Bigger than either an English or American IPA in both alcohol strength and overall hop level (bittering and finish). Less malty, lower body, less rich and a greater overall hop intensity than an American Barleywine. Typically not as high in gravity/alcohol as a barleywine, since high alcohol and malt tend to limit drinkability. A showcase for hops.

History: A recent American innovation reflecting the trend of American craft brewers “pushing the envelope” to satisfy the need of hop aficionados for increasingly intense products. The adjective “Imperial” is arbitrary and simply implies a stronger version of an IPA; “double,” “extra,” “extreme,” or any other variety of adjectives would be equally valid.

Ingredients: Pale ale malt (well-modified and suitable for single-temperature infusion mashing); can use a complex variety of hops (English, American, noble). American yeast that can give a clean or slightly fruity profile. Generally all-malt, but mashed at lower temperatures for high attenuation. Water character varies from soft to moderately sulfate.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.070 – 1.090
IBUs: 60 – 120
FG: 1.010 – 1.020
SRM: 8 – 15
ABV: 7.5 – 10%

Commercial Examples: Russian River Pliny the Elder, Three Floyd’s Dreadnaught, Avery Majaraja, Bell’s Hop Slam, Stone Ruination IPA, Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, Surly Furious, Rogue I2PA, Moylan’s Hopsickle Imperial India Pale Ale, Stoudt’s Double IPA, Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA, Victory Hop Wallop

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